Yes, you really can make a difference with these simple ways to tread lightly on the Earth
In the past few weeks, we have witnessed a series of school strikes, a visit to the UK from teenage activist, Greta Thunberg, and peaceful protests from climate campaigners, Extinction Rebellion, who received endorsement from none other than Sir David Attenborough. As well as this, millions of us tuned in to watch Attenborough’s poignant documentary, Climate Change – The Facts. Following this, the UK parliament has just declared a ‘climate emergency’.
With so many people taking action, below are some top tips for contributing to a low-carbon lifestyle and economy.
1.Invest with a conscience
The Committee on Climate Change’s recent report has advised individuals to check their pension funds and ISAs to see if their investments support low-carbon industries.
When you put money into a bank account, rather than just sitting there waiting to be withdrawn, it is lent by the bank, to businesses. Most banks do not make their customers aware of where their money is going and, in many cases, the bank’s customers may not wish to support the businesses who are benefiting from their funds.
After all, there is no point in switching to a renewable energy provider if you are with a bank that finances coal power plants.
Triodos, the world’s leading ethical bank, is pioneering change within the industry. Unlike most banks, Triodos funds organisations and community projects that have a positive social and environmental impact, enabling people to use their money in a conscious, ethical and sustainable way.
What’s more, customers are able to see exactly where the money is going, simply by visiting the Triodos website.
By simply switching to an ethical bank, consumers can take back control and cut back on carbon, to make a real difference without even having to try.
2. Switch to green energy
Switching your home or business to a renewable energy provider, is one of the quickest ways to reduce your carbon footprint and it doesn’t have to break the bank.
Renewable energy harnesses the power of the sun, wind and rain. It is clean, green and utterly inexhaustible, but also massively under-used.
There are a number of renewable energy providers, like Good Energy, which started out in 1999 – two decades ago. Good Energy provides 100% renewable electricity and carbon neutral gas. Newer players, such as Ripple Energy, will also offer the opportunity for customers to co-own a wind farm for their own source of energy.
3. Active travel
Many journeys that are done in the car, can be done on foot or on bike. According to a recent Sustrans report, 11% of short car journeys are under one mile, 29% are from one to under two miles, and 60% are from two to five miles. Cars account for 13% of the country’s total emissions and if four out of five short journeys were made by foot, bike or public transport, carbon emissions would be reduced by 7.7 million tonnes.
Not only does leaving the car at home save you money, it will also save you time – and who doesn’t love flying past the traffic?
4. Change the way you eat
For many, flexitarianism may be the way forward if you don’t want to completely cut out meat. Just limiting your meat consumption and avoiding red meat can make a big difference. Why? Because livestock is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions and greater than all transportation combined.
According to the Soil Association’s 2018 report on ‘The benefits of organic farming’, organic farms have 50% more abundant wildlife.In addition, organically grown crops are free from synthetic fertilisers and pesticides and synthetic nitrogen fertiliser is a major contributor to agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.
5. Reuse, reuse, reuse
Buy good quality products that last longer. This doesn’t just cover reusable cups and bottles, but clothes, furniture, you name it.
By buying less, you can fast-track to lower carbon emissions. A whopping 91% of plastic isn’t recycled according to the National Geographic, whilst Britons binned binned clothes worth £12.5 billion last year as the rise of “throwaway” fashion led to 300,000 tonnes of textiles ending up in landfill.
The amount of carbon used to create single items is staggering. Reusing and consuming less is an effective way to back a sustainable future.